Tea Society was the first society I joined. Particularly introverted in my first year, I didn’t even attempt any Give it A Go sessions -terrible Fresher practice, I know. But in my spring semester, I brought a friend along to Tuesday Tea Soc, and another, and before I knew it, this rag-tag bunch of loose leaf lovers had my heart.
When I heard on the day of the AGM that the position of Biscuit Officer (yes, a HEAR accredited role) was available, I jumped at the opportunity. For someone unseasoned in public speaking, I felt surprisingly comfortable giving an impassioned speech about Richard Osman’s Twitter biscuit World Cup, my Food Tech GCSE and my weakness for bourbons. After a dramatic debate as to the classification of Jaffa Cakes as cakes, I won over the other candidate and have been providing biscuits ever since.
(Aside here for musical theatre fans: the existence of Tea Society, its Biscuit Officer and my speech have been approved by Hamilton legend Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter.)
But, what is the University of Sheffield Tea Society? We meet every Tuesday, 5-7pm on level 3 of the SU. From our treasure trove (locker) we select four teas: at least a black, a green and a caffeine free / herbal. We set up our teapots, I bring biscuits, and people bring their mugs to try new flavours and chat. Like most long-term members, I have been on a taste-testing journey for the bargain price of £3 a year. Personally, I discovered a penchant for Harrod’s Summer Fruits and T2’s Strawberries and Cream, but each to their own.
Yes, that’s it, we may possibly be one of the most relaxing societies within the university’s impressive repertoire of over 370. There’s no pressure to attend every week or for the full two hours, but many feel comfortable to do so. Though currently we have a disproportionate number of Arabs, physicists, biomeds and mountaineers (apparently the most passionate demographics who bring friends) our members are across the international and academic spectrum – who doesn’t love a cuppa?
Tip for people like me who don’t drink alcohol: praising or complaining about your brew is a brilliant icebreaker, and for international students, an excellent introduction to the sacred role of tea in British society. So, if you’re around uni on a Tuesday, come say hi, we are a friendly bunch.
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